NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexico is a hotspot for movie and tv show productions. One couple was getting so much movie work in the state they moved their California-based production company here.
Steve Stafford and Carolyn Hollingsworth have an adventurous life together. “The adventures just beginning. Now that we’re in Santa Fe, it’s like a whole new chapter for us. We love it here,” said Chief Pilot of Studio Wings, Steve Stafford.
They make a living filming movie scenes from the air with specialized helicopters. The helicopters have additions that allow movie cameras and audio equipment to be used. They also do stunt flying for movies. Six months ago, they moved their aerial production company called Studio Wings from California to New Mexico.
“We moved to Santa Fe because there’s so much work. We’ve been going back and forth for so many years working on different projects and productions, and finally, we just said ‘lets just move here,'” said Aerial Ground Safety for Studio Wings, Carolyn Hollingsworth.
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Hollingsworth mentioned their job is exciting because every show is different and a new adventure. They expect the state to be busy in the film industry for their company.
Stafford is a former Marine and has a background in movie directing. He said this had helped him with his business. “Most the people we work with appreciate our knowledge base not only in aviation but in film production too,” said Stafford.
They’re also actors and specially licensed stunt pilots. During filming, Hollingsworth is in charge of communication. She also makes sure everyone is safe throughout the process. “I’m the eyes and ears. It’s a big job. A lot of responsibility making sure Steve’s safe, making sure they get the shot that they want,” said Hollingsworth.
Hollingsworth said safety is everything, and in order to do so they spend a lot of time preparing. They scout the area they are filming in for any issues that could result in an injury. That includes debris, trees, and wiring. The work is hard, and the days are long, but they say it is all worth it. “We really consider ourselves lucky to do what we do and be able to do it as a team,” Stafford said.
A special film tax credit helps drive the movie industry in New Mexico. According to New Mexico film office, the credit can equal up to 35 percent of spending on a movie.